Luckily for me when I heard about the flipped class last spring, I told another 2 teachers who shared in my enthusiasm for the idea. Also luckily our principal Scott Mclean (@OKMScott) was able to send the three of us to the Flipped Conference in Woodland Park, to see the pioneers of flipping, Aron Sams (@chemicalsams) and Jon Bergman (@jonbergmann). The conference and trip, forged the foundation for what developed into a flourishing collaborative team that has single-handedly supported me through my first bumpy year of the flipped class.
Yes I have heard of collaboration and of course I have worked with many teachers over the years. We have had days designated as “collaborative”, we have collaborated as a department, and we have collaborated across departments. However, I had never really collaborated before. I can’t articulate exactly why this collaboration is unique or successful. I think it is due to the large risk we all took in embarking on the flipped class. I just know that could not have made it this far on this journey without my fellow flippers. When I run out of energy and enthusiasm, our debrief and strategy sessions re-charge my batteries. When I have the proverbial worst day and get the itch to go back to my Powerpoint haze, I talk it though. This does take time and energy and it also takes bravery to show your practice to other teachers, blemishes and all.
However the strength it has imparted to me to stretch myself as a teacher it most certainly a worthwhile trade-off. I am more humble and open about my practice; and I feel ready to open my doors (although it still is intimidating for me).
I like what the flipped class has done for my students;regardless of the criticism out there right now. The flipped class has put the learning firmly back in the hands of the learner, it has provided me a fresh perspective, it has got me out-of-the-way, it has me looking for and trying new ways to work with students. This process is messy as I find my way and there is always the risk of failure.
However; I know someone has my back, I feel ready to take some big risks and to work through the bumps in the road. I am proud to work with my fellow risk takers and I a feel ready for the big challenges ahead!